Ford Racing Darlington Sunday notes

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 36th) -- "I don't know. This has been three bad weeks in a row for us -- Michigan, Bristol and then here. We were just sitting there riding. We started in the back and moved up into the ...

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 36th) -- "I don't know. This has been three bad weeks in a row for us -- Michigan, Bristol and then here. We were just sitting there riding. We started in the back and moved up into the middle of the pack. The Jasper Engines car was great and we were just biding our time. Bobby Hamilton got loose up there and hit the wall three laps earlier and then we came through there and the 43, I don't know if there's oil or if it's just the race track, but he got sideways. I saw him and tried to cut away from him, but he came right down in front of us."

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 42nd) -- "I don't know. We just started slipping a little bit. We maybe got something wrong with the ignition, but we can't figure out what it is."

WHAT ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR FINAL RACE AT DARLINGTON? "Well, I liked it when I was up front. That was fun. It kind of brought back a lot of good memories, but this hasn't been fun here (in the garage).

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 41st) -- NOTE: Mayfield was leading the race when he hit the wall. "It's been our case all year. I guess I came up on Dave Marcis. I followed him two or three laps and was clearly faster than him, I guess I came up into him and got into the wall."

WHAT HAPPENED?  "I was trying to pass Dave Marcis and I guess I came up into
him and got into the wall.  He wouldn't cut me no slack and it was just
racing.  What do you do?"  

YOU SAID THIS WAS THE BEST CAR YOU'VE EVER HAD AT DARLINGTON. IS THAT TRUE? "Oh, it's clearly the best. It's an awesome car. We were trying to be careful and take it easy. I want to thank Mobil 1 and Goodyear and everybody involved here. All the guys -- Penske engines, everybody at the race shop -- they did an awesome job. Like I say, I guess I came up into Marcis and got in the wall."

YOU WERE DOMINATING AND COULD HAVE WON THIS THING. "Well, it feels good but I just hate we have to give it to somebody else. That's about the third or fourth one we've given away this year. I should have waited. I took a couple laps trying to get around him thinking he'd give me a break and he didn't. I should have known better. It's my fault."

JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 32nd) -- "I guess Brett Bodine must need glasses or something. He's a dumb ass. He just drove off the corner there and I gave him plenty of room and he came back on the outside of me and caught me in the right-rear quarter panel and turned me in the wall. It was a stupid thing on his part. He took the Kmart car out of a top five and possibly a chance at winning the race, but what goes around comes around though."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 2nd) -- YOUR CAR WAS ALL OVER THE PLACE TODAY. "Yes it was. We were really bad for a little while. We were great to start and then we were really bad and then we were even worse than really bad. Then we slowly started bringing it back. On the end of a long run there I started to catch Ward and then on the last run we were actually a little bit quicker than he was. That's a tough way to lose a race. We had a 14.5 second pit stop, but the problem was Ward and I had to come in slower than pit road speed. Bobby, because of his pit position and he did the right thing, was able to come in at pit road speed. That's just a bad deal. We had a 14.5 second pit stop and got beat out of the pits because we weren't able to go fast enough on pit road."

HAD THIS GONE THE DISTANCE COULD YOU HAVE WON? "You never know, but it would have been an exciting Burton race though."

HOW WAS YOUR DAY? "It was eventful. We were really good to start the race. We came in and had a bad pit stop and went all the way back to like 23rd. We came in ninth and went out 23rd, that was pretty depressing. Then we weren't good. We were actually terrible for a while. We kept working, kept working and at the end of the race we were pretty good. We came in running second and the way the rule works here, the leader can't pass the pace car, so the leader is actually going slower than pit road speed and everybody stacks up behind him going slower than pit road speed. Bobby Labonte is on that end of pit road, so he was able to come in faster than everybody else and that's why he beat us out of the pits. We had a 14.5-second pit stop and we got beat out of the pits because of pit position. At most race tracks you want to be in turn one, at this race track it's a huge advantage to be in turn four. It wouldn't surprise me the next race to see the pole-sitter pick that first pit because all day long he picked up spots. My spotter is yelling, 'He's speeding on pit road, he's speeding,' but I'm going 1,000-RPM slower than pit road speed and that's what won the race for them. I mean, they had a great pit stop, I'm not trying to take anything away from them. They did a great job and they took advantage of the position that they were put in."

IS THE EXIT TO PIT ROAD? "It's because of the entrance of pit road. The entrance of pit road, there's a blend line. You can pull up and you can't pass the pace car, but if you're pitted on that end, you don't have to go as slow for long. It's just an advantage."


CAN YOU COMMENT ON YOUR CHANGES WITH THE PIT CREW DURING THE RACE? "Well, we borrowed some of Richard Childress' guys. About a month ago we had to let a guy go, one of our tire changers, so we brought a substitute in this week -- not an employee of Roush Racing, but kind of stuck the guy in the fire and he didn't have much time to practice with our tire carrier. They tried real hard, they just didn't have enough time to practice and we felt like it was real important to have good pit stops and after the first stop we elected to make a change there. You hate to do that because everybody tries as hard as they can try, but this is professional sports and when you've got a young guy that you think is gonna be a good receiver, but he's not doing a good job on that day, then you sit him down and let him think about it and he'll come back stronger the next day. That's what we did today."

IF NOTHING IS DONE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE IN TWO WEEKS WILL YOU DRIVE? "We'll certainly run there. My sponsor, my car owner and everybody that I work for expects me to show up and do my deal and we'll certainly be there."

IS THIS RACE AN INDICATION IT MIGHT BE BOBBY'S YEAR? "Bobby is a great race car driver and he's got a great race team. What Bobby and his team have done all year long is take advantage of the positions that they've been put in and they did that again today. They've made very few mistakes. They've been very consistent. They've run in the front and they've done that with very few wrecks and very few mechanical problems and that's why they're the point leader. Certainly, we're right there with them in the last three months. We've actually gained some points on them, but we didn't do it early in the year. They've been able to put a string together for the whole year and it's very impressive what they've been able to do."

ANY SURPRISE WARD PITTED ON THAT FINAL CAUTION AND DID YOU TALK ABOUT STAYING OUT? "Frank thought about staying out. He was contemplating it, but it was more just a thought, it wasn't a consideration. It was more of just a thought. It didn't surprise me. Everybody pitted. I mean, you can't tell if it's gonna rain or not. Hell, it's dark, you can't see anything." BUT YOU HAVE RADAR IN YOUR PITS. "Yeah, but the radar is showing green the whole time and it's not raining."

HUT STRICKLIN --90-- Hills Brothers Taurus (Finished 34th) -- "We got in a couple of wrecks there and really didn't lose a lot by what happened, but it basically wasn't our day. We lost oil pressure there about 10 laps before that happened and you know the motor isn't gonna live long like that, so we just did our best to try and finish from that point on and it just wasn't meant to be."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 5th) -- "It was just a long day. You just never knew what was gonna happen and the track kept changing and you just had to chase it around. It's just unfortunate to have a finish like this, but we got a top five and we had a decent car all day. At least we were more competitive."

WAS THERE A SENSE OF URGENCY WHEN YOU PITTED AFTER EVERYONE ELSE AT THAT ONE JUNCTURE? "Oh yeah, but you could see. I mean, NASCAR did the right thing there. I thought it was gonna be really dark and gonna rain some more. We took a chance. It didn't really effect the outcome of the race, I don't think. We had our chance to get back up there and to race with them, but a couple of the guys were just a little better than us. The 18, they made a great pit stop and got all he could on pit road and got him a victory."

WAS THE FEEL OF THE RACE DIFFERENT BECAUSE OF THE WEATHER? "Yeah, I mean you never knew what was gonna happen. You couldn't get overly aggressive because of the tire situation and you had to keep the tires on it, so if it didn't rain you had something to go with. You just had to be patient, but go hard."

IF THE RAIN DIDN'T COME HOW WAS IT GOING TO EFFECT YOUR DAY? "Oh, I don't know. We made some adjustments there on the last stop. We had been freeing the car up and we got a little too loose there and if we tightened it back up it would have fun to see, but you never know."

HOW DID YOUR STRATEGY CHANGE AS THE DAY WENT ON? "I don't know that we had any strategy all day. You just had to kind of play it by ear. Whatever the weather was gonna let you do you had to do that." A STRANGE DAY. "Yes, you never knew what was gonna happen. We can't predict the weather. We can look at a radar screen and still not know what's gonna happen. You plan the best that you can and you adjust the best that you can."

KEVIN LEPAGE --16-- Taurus (Finished 7th) -- YOU HAD A GREAT DAY. "I don't think great is the word for it. Coming back from a 30th starting spot. We wiped out our primary car with a blown tire the other day and go to a backup car and go all the way back to 43rd and work our way back up to seventh is really something. The guys did a great job in the pits. They got me out and kept getting me spots, making right adjustments. My hat's off to Tony Lambert, he came over and helped Pat Tryson this week and they made some great calls. I'm telling you, what a great performance here. This is what the team needs to go to the next 10 races of the year."

WHAT ABOUT ALL THE TWISTS AND TURNS IN THIS RACE? "We had a top 10 race car no matter how you look at it. We were top 10 and we were gonna be there, we just didn't know if we were gonna be fifth or we were gonna be 10th. We had to just keep working on the race car and we did."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 8th) -- "We started off and worked our way right to the back. We came in, worked on it -- no better. We kept working on it all day and, finally, the last stop before the rains came we got stuck on a long green and the thing came alive. We finally hit on something and, man, it just took off."

WERE YOU HAPPY WITH ALL THE CAUTIONS BECAUSE IT GAVE YOU TIME TO WORK ON THE CAR? "Yeah, the way our day had gone. At one time we were a 30th-place car. I felt we were an eighth to 12th place car and we ended eighth or ninth I think."

DID THE WEATHER EFFECT YOU AT ALL? "It didn't effect us a whole lot because we were coming in and working on the car. It wasn't like we were at the front of the pack like Ward or somebody who had been dominant all day. It would have been a difficult race to try to call strategy from that standpoint, but we never had the track position. We were always one of the later cars in the lead lap, so it didn't effect us too much."

SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 24th) --"We had a great day and a disappointing finish. We were running in the top 10, top 12 all day long and the Tide Taurus ran great. We were right where we wanted to be -- conserving our tires, taking care of it and running our pace. Unfortunately, we got caught up in a mess. We came in, the guys did a good job putting it back together and we went back out and salvaged what we could out of the day. We improved. To think we couldn't even make this race earlier on and to come back here and run in the top 10, top 12, I think that says a lot for this team and where it's going."

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus (Finished 27th) -- WHAT HAPPENED IN THE INCIDENT WITH SPENCER? "He got underneath me in the corner, I gave him the inside and he wanted the whole race track. He put me in the wall and that's stupid because he took himself out. He had a good race car and that was dumb on his part. He took both of us right out of any kind of a good finish at all. I mean, I couldn't go any higher because the wall is there."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Labonte , Dave Marcis